Astronaut Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon, Bob Crippen, the first space shuttle pilot, and former NASA administrator Mike Griffin are among the eight space leaders who endorsed Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney today, Space.com reported.
The men signed an open letter that explained why Romney is the candidate they most trust to rebuild the US space program.
"Restoring the US space program to greatness will require the leadership, management skill, and commitment to American exceptionalism possessed by only one candidate in this race: Mitt Romney," the letter said, according to Space.com. "We support Mitt's candidacy and believe that his approach to space policy will produce results instead of empty promises."
Not only did GOP candidate Newt Gingrich and his proposed manned Moon base apparently fail to impress them, but, they said, they had been disappointed by President Barack Obama’s approach to space.
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"We have watched with dismay as President Obama dismantled the structure that was guiding both the government and commercial space sectors, while providing no purpose or vision or mission," the group wrote, according to Space.com. "This failure of leadership has thrust the space program into disarray and triggered a dangerous erosion of our technical workforce and capabilities. In short, we have a space program unworthy of a great nation."
In a speech in Cape Canaveral, Fla., today, Romney said he doesn’t currently have a grand vision for the US space program, the Washington Post reported. However, he said, if elected, he would bring together the nation’s top experts in government and the private sector to decide what its mission should be.
“Before you make tough decisions, you start off by saying what’s the objective?” Romney said, according to the Post. “And then you say what’s the data and see what information you have. And then you create hypotheses, to see what different choices might be, and then you choose one… [and] you expect a leader to deliver and get it done.”